If you order a VanMoof bike and the delivery guy show ups with a box that features an image of a TV, don't be alarmed — they didn't get your order wrong.
You're just witnessing clever packaging in action.
Since early 2016, VanMoof, a Dutch bicycle company, has been shipping its bikes in cardboard boxes with pictures of TVs on their face. Now, in a recent Medium post, VanMoof creative director Bex Rad explains how the bit of trickery was meant to reduce damage.
Bikes are generally thought of as more durable, so shipping companies might not be as careful as they would with a television.
"After a while, fragile labels — which we have tried, believe me — become like wallpaper," VanMoof co-founder and CEO Ties Carlier tells Business Insider. "We think our solution works better because shipping companies know that if they damage a TV, it ends up being a whole lot more work, so they treat it more delicately."
The technique has noticeably reduce damages rates: Rad claims on Medium that the design change led to 70-80% fewer damaged bike products on arrival.
—Jason Gay (@jasongay) September 4, 2016
VanMoof has had to come up with other clever solutions in the past as well. Carlier says that before damaged shipments became an issue, customers were complaining about their bikes were getting stolen. So VanMoof decided to release its SmartBike, which the company can track in the event it's lost or stolen.
All SmartBikes also come with a two-year "Peace of Mind Guarantee," in which the company will replace the bike if it isn't found within two weeks.
Carlier admits the tactic of printing a TV on a box containing a bicycle could get so popular that shipping companies eventually catch on and stop being as careful. "But even if they do," he says, "we hope they will still treat the bike more carefully by realizing the lengths we go to for its safety!"
Ultimately, the company just hopes its clever solutions can get more people riding bikes — a pastime in the Netherlands that's become a growing movement in the highway-dominant US.